Too bad to check: Miller 38, Murkowski 36, McAdams 22

I hope Dick Morris and Sean Trende are right about the GOP winning 100 seats in November. Because if Murky pulls this one out, that’s how big the wave will have to be to ease the pain.

A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 38 percent of likely voters in the state support GOP nominee Joe Miller, with 36 percent saying they back Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was narrowly defeated by Miller in last month’s GOP primary…

“It looks like Alaska Democrats may be planning to do some strategic voting,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

Nearly four in ten Democratic likely voters say they plan to write in Murkowski’s name. That’s an indication that a lot of Democrats are more interested in defeating Miller than they are in electing a member of their own party.”

Murkowski’s support is high among women, lower-income voters, and senior citizens – all groups that give her 43 percent of their vote.

Polls of this race are tricky twice over, once because Alaska is notoriously difficult to gauge and twice because the nature of Murkowski’s candidacy poses a dilemma for the pollster. Do you do it the way Scott Rasmussen does it, offering respondents a choice between Miller and McAdams to reflect the choices on the ballot and letting them volunteer Murkowski’s name instead? Or do you name all three candidates and ask if respondents will be “writing in” Murkowski? Rasmussen’s way is more accurate, I think; CNN, however, chose the second way, which might explain why they have Murkowski polling nine points better than Rasmussen does. Then again, Murky’s been doing a lot of national media lately, and her write-in ads have ramped up since Rasmussen did his survey eight days ago. Could simply be that she’s gaining. And that Miller’s now in a dogfight.

If these numbers are right then Democrats will soon face the same dilemma in Alaska that they face in Florida with Meek and Crist. Not only is the independent candidate in the race an incumbent with high name recognition, but she’s simply killing their nominee among the Democratic base, where they need every vote. At what point will prominent Alaska Dems decide McAdams is a lost cause and start peeling off towards Murkowski in the name of defeating Miller? Gulp.